by LYDIA COBB | photo by Spark Photography

Eyes on the World

family_collins1It was New Year’s Eve in Brazil, and Paula dove into the river at a beach resort to bless herself for the coming year, as is the custom. “The first thing I saw when I surfaced was a pair of blue eyes – Martyn!” revealed Paula Collins. “It will be the 25th anniversary of our first meeting this coming New Year’s Eve.” The Collins family – Martyn, Paula, and children Samuel and Gabriella – have lived in The Trails since 2004. Each has a personal continent: Dad was born in the UK; Mom in Brazil. Sam was born in Tokyo and Gabriella in Minnesota. No wonder everyone is at least bilingual – knowing seven languages together.

Martyn was a former senior executive in life science companies AstraZeneca, ICI, and Syngenta for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in ecology from Oxford and is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. The Collins’ moved here for Martyn’s work in the biotech joint venture between Syngenta and Diversa. After leaving Syngenta, he focused on charitable work, leading international sustainable development efforts in the Brazilian-based nonprofit Pro Natura, Equinox Center, and International Community Foundation, while consulting for leadership executives locally. He’s a role model featured in Save the World and Still Be Home for Dinner (W. Marre 2009).


Parents: Martyn Davies Collins and Ana Paula Collins
Children: Samuel Frederic Collins (15, 10th grade, Rancho Bernardo High School),
Gabriella Alicia Collins (11, 6th grade, Bernardo Heights Middle School)

Community: The Trails, Rancho Bernardo since 2004
Hometowns: Martyn – Southport, Lancashire, UK; Paula – Guarulhos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Occupations: Martyn – Semi-retired Life Science Executive and Consultant; Paula – Part-time Consultant in Brazilian Law
Favorite Places to Visit 92128: Bernardo Winery, Cordiano Winery, Rancho Bernardo Inn, the gym at Rancho Bernardo Swim & Tennis Club


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A former fashion model and entrepreneur, Paula is a member of the Brazilian Bar Association and joined a Brazilian law firm that is internationally expanding. “I feel privileged to be living in the USA and want to give back to my community,” she explained. She volunteers for her children’s schools, for cancer research, and with Martyn in the nonprofit Poway Valley Water Polo.

Samuel, a sophomore, joined the Rancho Bernardo High School Varsity water polo team last year. He’s in several honors and AP classes and is facilitating cultural exchanges between his high school and one in Sao Paulo. Gabriella is in sixth grade and is a member of Science Olympiad. In addition to playing water polo, she has helped her mom’s work with Susan G. Komen for the Cure with a lemonade stand. “She’s a natural humanitarian who adores her friends and her community,” shared Paula.

“It will be the 25th anniversary of our first meeting this coming New Year’s Eve.”

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They love beaches and music. Martyn plays drums in the band Boomerang. Photography unites them. The kids’ action sports moments are captured by Martyn’s camera. Picture this: life is about being fully involved and giving back with the Collins family.