Penny Forward Team

Penny Forward empowers individuals with vision loss to navigate the complicated landscape of personal
finance through education, mentoring, and mutual support. Our commitment extends to every facet
of personal finance, encompassing activities related to earning, managing, and growing one’s finances.

Penny Forward Board of Directors: Chris Peterson, Liz Bottner, Eric Yarberry, and Kane Brolin.

Curriculum, Communications, and Operations Team: Monica Carpenter, Brynn Lee, and Jeremy Grandstaff.


Penny Forward Founder and CEO, Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson AFC, Founder and CEO

Chris was born blind and raised with the expectation that he’d lead a successful life. He has a Bachelor’s in computer science from Southwest Minnesota State University, a Master’s in software engineering from the University of Minnesota, and has worked as a software developer for IBM, Lenovo, and Thrivent Financial.

Throughout his adult life, Chris has learned a great deal about managing his finances, mostly from accidental successes and mistakes he has made along the way. In 2020, he decided to make it his mission to teach other blind people some of the things he had to learn the hard way. Knowing he couldn’t do it alone, he began building Penny Forward, a community of people who are blind, their families, and friends, who share his interest in financial independence.

Penny Forward’s mission is to help people build the knowledge to confidently navigate the complicated landscape of personal finance through education, mentoring, and mutual support.

Christopher Peterson AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor Certificate dated 1.12.2024 and expires 6.30.24

Penny Forward VP Liz Bottner

Liz Bottner CVRT, CATIS, Vice President

Liz Bottner is the vice president of the Penny Forward board of directors and the co-host and co-producer of the Penny Forward podcast. She is a certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist (CATIS) and Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT), Liz credits her initial interest in the blindness rehabilitation field to those positive blindness rehabilitation professionals she had in her life early on who helped set her up for success in terms of being able to effectively navigate through the world despite having vision loss.

She received her Master’s degree in Blind Rehabilitation Teaching with a specialization in Assistive Technology from Northern Illinois University and currently workas as an Assistive Technology Specialist for the Library of Congress (National Library Service).

When she is not working, Liz enjoys reading, traveling (New York City is a much favored destination) and being active. She enjoys running (with and without her Guiding Eyes Running guide dog) and serving as goalie in playing blind hockey, especially for the Hartford Braillers-Connecticut’s blind ice hockey team.


Penny Forward Treasurer Eric Yarberry

Eric Yarberry, Treasurer

Eric proudly serves as the treasurer for Penny Forward. He is the Director of Education and Training at World Services for the Blind.

At WSB, Eric oversees the instruction and implementation of the career training and life skills programs. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Professional and Technical Writing. He enjoys volunteering his time to the Arkansas Association for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Visually Impaired as well as the Arkansas School for the Blind Alumni Association.

Eric is an avid outdoorsmen and a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor. He brings to the table real world knowledge of living with a visual impairment and 7 years of working with blind youth and adults. He lives in Little Rock with his lovely wife, Emily, and his Leader Dog, Hank.


Penny Forward Member Kane Brolin

Kane Brolin CFP, CHSNC, Member

For more than 20 years, Kane has owned and operated Brolin Wealth Management, a financial planning and investment management business based in Mishawaka, Indiana, located not far from The University of Notre Dame. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and has earned the Chartered Special Needs Consultant ®designation as well.

Having been totally blind since infancy, Kane is thankful for the early introduction of Braille into his life, as well as for the consistent drumbeat from parents, peers, and professors which set and reinforced continuously high expectations.

Kane and his wife Danika are the adoptive parents of four children and are active in several civic organizations, as well as their place of worship.

Giving back is one of Kane’s highest priorities. Kane is a co-founder of the Michiana Chapter within the Indiana State Affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, and he was elected treasurer of the Indiana affiliate in October, 2021.

Throughout communities in North-Central Indiana and Southwestern Michigan, Kane and his colleagues enthusiastically spread the good news of Braille, emphasize the importance of financial literacy, and demonstrate that the training, tools, and positive attitude that enable us to raise our expectations are within reach to all who persistently seek them.


Penny Forward Program Coordinator Monica Carpenter

Monica Carpenter, Program Coordinator

An east-Iowa native now living in the Des Moines metro area. She has spent the last few years raising 4 boys with her husband. She has limited professional background, and yet has lots of personal experience with all sorts of skills. She started up an Etsy shop in 2009 for her fiber crafting, and a YouTube channel in 2017 for advocating and speaking out for the blind crafting community.

In 2020 MOe found the American Council Of The Blind, ACB, Community and has gotten involved with facilitating a blind parents support group program, becoming a ACB trained zoom host, and Director on 2 ACB Affiliate boards: the Iowa council of the united blind, ICUB, and ACB Next Generation.In addition she serves as the fundraising committee chair for ACB Next Generation. Most recently she got connected with Penny Forward through the ACB Community and is now happy to be part of their board and an administrative assistant.

Growing up Monica was always money conscious and is now excited to be helping others get a handle on their personal finances. She has been off and on participating in the Ramsey Financial Peace University system, but finds that people with disabilities need to make some modifications to make this work for us. She looks forward to building such a program with Penny forward, and to someday, become a certified financial coach or counselor with Penny Forward.

In her spare time MOe can be found crocheting, knitting, spinning, reading, in the water, or exploring somewhere.


Penny Forward Audio Producer Brynn Lee

Brynn Lee, Audio Producer

Brynn, originally from Phoenix, Arizona, now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She works as an Assistive Technology Specialist at State Services for the Blind within the Senior Services Unit. She also manages post-production for the Penny Forward Podcast. Additionally, Brynn serves on the Blind LGBT Pride Board of Directors and chairs the Pride Connection Podcast Committee. Brynn also produces a comedy music podcast called The Fun Zone. Outside of work, she is an avid reader and especially loves science fiction stories. She also enjoys playing on the Twin Cities Audio Darts League.


Jeremy Grandstaff

Jeremy Grandstaff

Jeremy is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience in employee engagement, organizational strategy, and talent transformation. Specializing in consultative, large-scale initiatives across diverse sectors, Jeremy is fueled by the convergence of purpose, collaborative processes, meaningful dialogue, and curiosity, serving as a catalyst for lasting change.

His strengths lie in a deep understanding of group dynamics, collaborative planning, and a comprehensive grasp of organization and people development. As a blind, gay advocate who has achieved the highest level of advocacy objectives, Jeremy brings a unique perspective to his projects.

Jeremy has led numerous client engagements, serving as the lead consultant on projects such as process improvement, facilitation, executive coaching, mergers/acquisitions, and long-term change initiatives, all with a focus on improving the bottom line through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. Notable clients include Nebraska Health & Human Services, American Public Health Association, Blue Scope Buildings, City of New Orleans, and DC Housing Authority (ranging across all sectors).

Previously, Jeremy served for two decades as the President and Chief Organization Development Consultant of S&G Endeavors, delivering collaborative strategic planning, meeting facilitation, and organizational development services that enhanced clients’ bottom lines and strategic success. Currently, Jeremy holds the role of Recruiting & Talent Lead at Cogent Analytics, instructs for the Professional Certificate in Cultural Competence, and manages/instructs in World Services for the Blind’s Youth Advocacy Program. With a diverse career, he has also contributed as a collaborative planning consultant with Penny Forward, Member Services Director for Alliance for Biking & Walking, and production/quality manager for IBM Global Services.

Jeremy’s educational background includes a master’s degree in organization development and a BS in Management Information Systems from Bowling Green State University. He interned with pioneers of whole-scale change, Kathy Dannemiller and Roland Loup, and holds formal training in small-group facilitation from the Training for Trainers Cooperative. Most recently, he earned a certificate in Cultural Competence from the Institute for Culture, Change, and Leadership.

Actively engaged in professional learning communities, Jeremy volunteers with the International Society for Organization Development and Change, National Federation of the Blind, Organization Development Network, Association for Talent Development, and Society for Human Resources Management.