Andy Papathanassiou became NASCAR’s first ever, “pit crew coach,” when he was hired by Hendrick Motorsports to Jeff Gordon’s race team in 1992. Prior to racing, Andy attended Stanford University on a football scholarship and started four years on the offensive line. He graduated with his Bachelor’s in Economics and Master’s in Sociology. His philosophy and views as an outsider to NASCAR ultimately shifted the paradigm of how pit crews select and develop team members. After a 30-year racing career, with over 250 wins and 16 series championships, Andy speaks and conducts experiential events centered around high performing teams, transformative leadership, culture & paradigms, disruptive thinking, and athletic mindset.
1. What do you like most about working for Ty Boyd?
What I like most about working for Ty Boyd is the ability to make a genuine, lasting change and improvement in people who don’t consider themselves “good speakers” or competent presenters. In some instances, these negative self-assessments and fears, put up barriers in all areas of their communication and interaction. We can turn that around in three days! As a coach, teacher, and mentor, I can’t think of a more rewarding position.
2. Describe the company in one word or sentence.
I believe we all aspire on some level to be more than we are – to improve, to strive, to reach new goals. Ty Boyd helps you be the communicator you always wanted to be and opens a world you couldn’t figure out how to access by yourself, or one you didn’t think was possible.
3. What’s the number one thing you’ve learned since being a part of this company?
I learned the tremendous value of teaching and exploring in supportive environments. When you step into class on day 1 and see a dozen strangers, your defenses are up – fight or flight mechanisms on full alert! Very quickly, however, as you get to know your fellow students, you find out everyone has similar feelings and obstacles they need to overcome – yes, even the faculty! This knowledge gives everyone strength to start their journey. The transformations in just three days are amazing!
4. What’s the best story from your time with the company?
My first connection to Ty Boyd was as a student in ESI. Ty himself taught the class back then, and we developed a bond that endured. Several years later, when I was beginning to speak professionally, I came to Ty for help and ideas in crafting my first major presentation. He pulled out some suggestions from class and from his book, The Million Dollar Toolbox, and we got to work building a story! Having his support gave me the confidence to try my hand at public speaking. I think it’s rare when classroom experiences are so relatable and transferable to real situations in the outside world. I know they work that way at Ty Boyd ESI because I experienced it myself, as a student, speaker, and now as faculty, helping others climb that mountain!
5. What was your experience like attending the Excellence in Speaking Institute as a student?
As a student my first time, I was in a class with mostly older students who seemed more established in their careers and also appeared to be pretty good speakers already, from my point of view! Once we all started getting to know each other and talking about the reasons we enrolled in ESI, I saw they had the same fears and goals as I did. It made the rest of experience much more enjoyable knowing we were all in it together. I knew I had made the right choice to confront my fears about speaking and was happy I followed through!
6. What should someone expect from going through the course?
Whatever concerns you have about speaking in front of others, don’t let it stop you from attending ESI. Every single person reading this has the ability to not only improve their ability to communicate but also to turn the fear you might have about public speaking into positive energy which will actually enhance your performance. Become a better speaker and get excited instead of afraid. That’s what’s waiting for you here.
7. What truly makes you different than other companies?
Ty Boyd and ESI is a business that cares and works individually with each person enrolled in the program. From coaching to feedback and video review, our small class size and instructor ratio allow for a tremendous amount of personal attention. Our goal, which dates back to the very first class Ty conducted in 1980, is to help people communicate. Students are the priority. If you want to be a better speaker, there is a faculty here at Ty Boyd ESI to show, encourage and teach you how to get there.
8. Describe yourself in one word or sentence.
Coach. Throughout my career in business, sports, and non-profit work, there were always elements of coaching, teaching, and mentoring. It’s my passion to help others achieve their goals for growth, competition and in all aspects of their lives.
9. What are some things you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Work for me has always been a lifestyle more than a job. It’s hard to tell sometimes where one ends and the other begins. Luckily, I was always involved in something I loved to do and am surrounded by family that supports me. When I’m not working, it’s that family that I enjoy spending time with. Traveling anytime, skiing in the winter, and spending time outdoors and around water in nicer weather are activities we enjoy doing with each other.