I’ll Be There for You

Incoming NACS chair Julie Jackowski credits connectivity, idea-sharing for c-store industry success.

October 11, 2019

ATLANTA, Ga.—The industry’s success is due to its ability to help each other and learn from one another, according to incoming chair Julie Jackowski.

“The goal always, always has to be to lift each other up to best serve our guests and our communities,” Jackowski told the General Session audience last Friday at the 2019 NACS Show in Atlanta.

(To watch Jackowski’s address at the 2019 NACS Show, click here.)

Jackowski didn’t grow up in the industry. She isn’t a third- or fourth- generation c-store owner. Jackowski is the senior vice president and corporate general counsel at Casey’s General Stores headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa, and the industry found her, she says.

While working at a small law firm in Iowa, one of the partners encouraged her to apply for a job opportunity at Casey’s. In-house legal jobs didn’t come around often, he told her. And the position was focused on people and employment law—something she was passionate about.

Jackowski interviewed for the position and was ultimately awarded the job but not after a final interview with late Casey’s CEO Ron Lamb. During that interview, Lamb told Jackowski something she will never forget.

“‘Julie, you need to understand that if you come to work for Casey’s, an attorney is no better than our part-time donut makers,’” said Jackowski, quoting Lamb.

That message stuck with Jackowski, and it has been the keystone of Casey’s mission and business goals.

“Every person at Casey’s regardless of education or job title is critical to our overall success,” she said.

Jackowski touched on Casey’s new brand campaign called “Here for Good,” which allows the c-store to tell its brand story around different platforms.

“It is about the guest experience,” said Jackowski.

The new brand also relates to how Casey’s serves and gives back to the community and constantly strives to make the company better, she says.

Jackowski also credits the success of the industry to learning from fellow convenience store industry peers, despite sometimes being in competition for customers.

“We are successful because we help each other, and we share ideas, like we are doing right here at the NACS Show,” said Jackowski. “And we are there for each other each and every day.”