Vicky Collins Online

A Blog With Superpowers


For the love of Panda Bears

Sunday in Beijing and I feel the city is mine.  The sky is a beautiful blue (yes, it does happen) and the sun is out.  In two and a half weeks I have found a French bakery for cappuccinos, a restaurant I love called Hutong Pizza and I rode the subway.  I’m making my way through the city with confidence.  Today I decide to visit the zoo.  Apparently so does the rest of China.  This is not something to do if you get claustrophobic. 


The Beijing Zoo is primitive with many animals in glass enclosures and cages.  Visitors throw food and there are no moats so the animals often come right up to the fences.   There are some very interesting antelope and a great collection of bugs and butterflies.  There is also something I have never seen in a zoo before.  Dogs!!  In the children’s zoo there are different breeds of dogs.  They are big and little and the kids can walk them.


I have come to the zoo to see the pandas.  They are smaller than I expected and adorable. Ever since I met Suzanne Braden in Denver I have been more interested in them.  Suzanne runs a non-profit organization called Pandas International ( and she is a force.  For years she has been raising money for the panda breeding facility in Wolong that is working to insure the survival of the species.  There are only 1600 left in the world and their habitat in Wolong took a terrible hit from the earthquake.


The pandas are a hugely popular attraction and people photograph them with cameras and cell phones even behind the glass.   My NBC colleague, Mark Mullen, had a chance to visit Wolong a couple of times.  The most recent experience was after the earthquake and his stories of hope and heartbreak appeared on Today and Nightly News with Brian Williams (  He did a great stand up.  He reported by a cute little bear and then he patted his head.  Sublime!!   

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Bold Women

Picture perfect Colorado day… bluebird sky. Under the bright yellow tent at Erico Motorsports one of the premiere women in motorcycling, Genevieve Schmitt, is a guest on Peter Boyle’s live radio show USA Biker Nation The owner of Erico Motorsports is this firecracker named Tai Beldock who is working the crowd, schmoozing, marketing. In the company of these two accomplished women I’m in awe.

Tia Beldock and Genevieve Schmitt

With the journey of the 20s and 30s behind them, women like Gen and Tai are coming into such an incredible place in their 40s. Full of accomplishment and dare I say, chutzpah, these women are among the many who are building successful businesses, becoming activists in their communities and charting a course that inspires younger and older women alike. It strikes me that I’m meeting so many others like them these days… women in midlife who are going down the highway their own way. I think of the women who are starting NGOs to fight extreme poverty in the world, women who head out on life altering adventures, journalists and scientists and of course, mothers. They are fascinating and complex and motivated to create a better world. Daughters AND sons take notice. They are women with spirit. They are refreshments for the soul.

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