Penny said: “[I wanted to] try and change the employment opportunities for other disabled people, based on the difficulties I’d faced.
“It is staggering how many disabled people out there really want to work.
“They are bored sitting at home on benefits, their social life has shrunk to their front room, they are poor, they are depressed.
“And I don’t think employers really have any sense of this huge pool of people who would be so grateful for a job, have the skills to do jobs, and are going to be determined, loyal, motivated employees.”
Listen: From sailing to making waves in business, Penny tells her story so far
Penny is in the Inspiration Of The Year category at the second edition of the British Ex-Forces In Business Awards.
The ceremony, taking place at the London Hilton on May 8, honours the achievements of veterans and new Forces leavers who are making a name for themselves in civilian jobs.
While it isn’t always straightforward to make the transition from serving to civvy street, many veterans are finding that their military training, precision and forward thinking lend themselves perfectly to entrepreneurial ventures.
Penny continued: “I was doing my first legal job, and my sight started to deteriorate in my right eye.
“I was off sick for quite a long while, and when I went back, my left eye started deteriorating.
“Although I was lucky enough to be promoted to Commander, after another a couple of jobs my eyesight had gone in both eyes.
“And I was really looking forward to the future with some horror, because I could see no job, no income, no mortgage, no home.
“I decided that I needed to use my new disability as a unique selling point, so I set myself up as a disability consultant.”
Besides helping people overcome their own personal hurdles, Penny has been getting creative in the kitchen too.
In 2017, after winning a competition in the United States, she used her prize money to set up Baking Blind.
WATCH: Penny begins her Baking Blind adventure
Video credit: Penny Melville-Brown
The initiative has taken her the world over, bringing the joy of cooking to people with disabilities.
She added: “Just because one has a disability, it doesn’t hold you back.
“You can travel, you can have a great time, and you can showcase that everybody has abilities.”
Penny Melville-Brown is a finalist in the Inspiration Of The Year category at the British Ex-Forces In Business Awards on May 8.
The British Ex-Forces in Business Awards are sponsored by CBRE, FDM Group, Kuehne + Nagel, Galliford Try, Lloyd's of London, the Officers' Association, NTT Data, Santander, Savills, Sopra Steria and Standard Life Aberdeen.
Other supporters include BFBS, Forces Recruitment Services, RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, SaluteMyJob, the White Ensign Association and other media partners Quest Magazine and RealBusiness.co.uk.