Linda Duncombe pauses when she speaks about her late colleague, Brooks Lambertson, one of the three victims of a lightning strike in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Park on Aug. 4.
She finds it difficult to talk about the 29-year-old Lambertson, who was fondly remembered by his City National Bank co-workers for his generosity, kindness and unwavering positivity.
“Even the people who didn’t know him have been devastated,” Duncombe said of the Folsom native.
“They’ve heard of the kind of person he was — grateful, kind. The world’s just not as bright without him in it. I just can’t believe he’s gone.”
A DTLA resident, Lambertson was a City National Bank vice president, managing its sponsorships. He was in Washington, D.C., for business, according to Duncombe.
Lambertson was an avid sports fan. Prior to joining City National, he was the manager of partnership marketing for the Los Angeles Clippers. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism administration and a concentration in sports management.
“He was so warm and kind and thoughtful, and we never saw him lose his good manners,” Duncombe said.
“He was always asking how he could help other people. Everybody wanted to be around him. He was pure joy. He was just the nicest guy. I’m very careful using ‘nice’ because it’s so overused. But he was just so nice and such a good person.”
City National Bank sponsored the Tonys, and photos of Lambertson at the event show his excitement, she said.
“He did a beautiful job at the activation at the plaza,” she said. “He was so happy to see everyone having a really nice time.”
Patrick McCarthy of City National Bank’s marketing department met Lambertson when he was hired. McCarthy quickly learned of Lambertson’s passion for his job through activations with the Las Vegas Golden Knights and high-profile events like the Tonys.
“He was the ultimate team player,” McCarthy said.
“Often, these sponsorships require a lot of different people working on them. Brooks always let other people have the spotlight for the work he did. He brought others along. My team universally loved working with Brooks.”
Lambertson worked major events, but McCarthy remembers his late colleague for the little things.
“When I would walk into the LA office, I had to pass Brooks,” said McCarthy, who is based in New York. “He never missed the opportunity to look up and give me a wave. He had to have bad days, but it never came across to me.”
Even with Zoom meetings, Lambertson had a way of making everyone feel comfortable and welcome, McCarthy added.
“He had the ability to light up a Zoom call with his big smile,” he said. “His energy came through the screen.”
Nicole Oliha is senior vice president, creative and brand strategy of City National Bank. She worked closely with Lambertson on bringing the creative and brand experience to venues. She agreed with McCarthy.
“He was always a host,” Oliha said.
“He made the team feel comfortable and, along with that, he would invite my husband, my son and other people’s families to come to experience these events, and it’s crazy how I’m hearing more and more how many connections and impressions he made across people’s families.”
For example, Oliha and her family were driving home from visiting friends in San Diego. On the way, Lambertson invited them to attend a golf tournament that carried the bank’s branding.
“My son, who’s 5, had a great time and learned something about golf,” she said.
“That’s who Brooks was. He had such a warmth and kind energy about him, and it made him stand out in the eyes of so many. He was an incredibly polished, young professional. There were so many things I appreciated about Brooks. He was kind and thoughtful and really had a twinkle in his eye. He had such a soft nature about him.”