Face Time with Jason Joukhador from Ampol

I was born,grew up and still call home the vibrant heart of the inner west of Sydney, a place where a blend of wonderful cultures thrive.

Born into a traditional Lebanese household, my early life was shaped by the presence of four pivotal figures: my father, mother and two older brothers.

My father instilled in me the values of hard honest work, discipline and patience, whilst my mother was my beacon of compassion and care.

Growing up alongside two brothers, I was never short of companionship, competition, or adventure. They were both my fiercest competitors and my staunchest allies. Only years apart, we together, navigated the trials and tribulations of childhood and adolescence.

Each member of my family played a distinctive role in shaping the person I have become, both personally and professionally. Their influence is a thread that runs through the tapestry of who I am today, a constant reminder of where I come from and the values that drive me forward.

My upbringing was a blend of traditional values, deeply rooted in the migrant journey of my parents / grandparents. Their courageous move to Australia with nothing, driven by a desire for a better future for their family, was underpinned by strong Christian values that guided us through the challenges and opportunities alike.

From a young age, the emphasis was on education and personal development, seen as keys to unlocking opportunities. Surrounded by a close-knit circle of family and friends, I was instilled with a sense of community and the understanding that success is not just personal achievement but also the support network you have around you and the ability to contribute positively. This foundation laid the groundwork for my career, driving me to pursue excellence while staying true to the values of relationships, service and integrity.

My career journey commenced behind the cash registers at my local Big W, a role that spanned parts of my high school and university years. As I navigated various roles within the store, I gained a versatile understanding of retail operations, further enriching my professional toolkit and laying the groundwork for my professional path. This position, far from being just a job, was where I caught the retail bug and the best catch, my wife Rita, who since then has been my best friend and now mother to my three beautiful kids.

Throughout my career, the opportunity to travel overseas has been a privilege that has enriched my professional and personal outlook in countless ways. Each destination has been a chapter in an ongoing journey of learning and discovery, providing me with a broader understanding of the world and its diverse tapestry of cultures, ideas and ways of life.

These journeys have been instrumental in shaping my approach to my career, inspiring innovation and fostering a sense of empathy and adaptability that has been crucial in navigating the complexities of the modern workplace. The lessons learned from these experiences have transcended geographical boundaries, influencing my professional ethos and encouraging a continuous quest for knowledge and understanding.

If I were to pick my top three destinations it would be the breathtaking natural beauty of Jasper Canada, the unexpected diverse experience that Turkey offers and spending time on the beautiful beaches at our doorstep here in Australia.

Currently, I am General Manager of Merchandise and Dealer Channel at Ampol, where I lead our merchandise team for the over 600 company owned and operated Foodary branded stores and independent fuel dealer channel.

Since catching the retail bug, I have never ventured away from retail. I can confidently say I have covered most functions in retail – in field, central operations, IT, merchandise, strategy, improvement, finance. all sizes – large, medium, small. Key operating models –company, franchise and buying group. Various company structures – public, private and not for profit retail.

My desire to learn, grow and be the best at what I’m passionate about meant I have jumped into many roles across a number of retail organisations including sitting on three not for profit boards.

These boards are Save Our Sons – The peak body for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Australia – a charity very close to my heart who look to cure Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW – a member and volunteer-based organisation who assist people experiencing disadvantage and hardship and the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) – representing the interests of all businesses within the convenience channel here in Australia.

I often get asked what drives me and how did you define your pathway to where you are today. The time I spend needs meaning and purpose. This meaning and purpose has either been determined by making a difference in the work that I do, making a difference to those who need a helping hand and making a difference for my family.

My advice to retailers would be that retail has never been a walk in the park. Understanding the market, your customer, and not being afraid to evolve and disrupt based on the insights is crucial. For suppliers, collaborate with your retailers. Retail is a value chain and most effective when there is no chink in the chain.

My family/my world is made up of my gorgeous and always positive wife, my super son and two shining lights, my daughters. We do have a few chickens to keep up with the demands of a good healthy daily breakfast.

Having three young children, my weeknights and weekends are filled in investing in their development, commitments and other family events.

I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who sacrificed and invested in me. If I appreciate this and do the same for my children that’s the best thanks I can give.

I often get asked where I want to be in five years.

My typical response doesn’t explain an explicit destination. Life is a journey and you never know what is around the path. For me good health and doing what I love with my family and friends around me is all I wish for.

This article originally appeared in the April/May issue of Convenience and Impulse Retailing magazine.

To stay up to date on the latest industry headlines, sign up to the C&I e-newsletter.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top