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Kathy Bray, SFM Companies
Kathy Bray, SFM Companies

In-House Counsel 2022: Kathy Bray

In her 14 years at SFM Companies, Kathy Bray has shown great versatility.

She started in the company’s insurance division as senior defense counsel, graduating to corporate counsel in 2016. Three years ago she was named SFM’s chief legal officer and corporate secretary.

Bray leads the company’s legal strategy and manages SFM’s public policy efforts, compliance team and its in-house law firm, Lynn, Scharfenberg & Hollick.

“I was in private practice for more than 15 years, and SFM was one of my clients,” Bray says. “I just liked how they did business. There was very low turnover, and their employees seemed happy.”

Among Bray’s other responsibilities are corporate and board governance, oversight of employment law issues, contract review, regulatory matters and legislative relationships. She also has authority over SFM’s Special Investigation Unit.

Bray graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School and has her undergraduate degree in business from the University of Denver.

Before joining SFM, Bray was a shareholder with Hanft Fride in Duluth. There she advised employers in workers’ compensation and employment matters, including disputes that involved the Americans With Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act and other employment-related litigation.

“I like being in an atmosphere where everyone is working for the same client,” Bray says of the contrast between private practice and in-house work. “There are a lot of different facets to the work, but everyone has the same goal of helping the client succeed.”

Bray is currently co-leading SFM’s hybrid office project.

“We’re trying to find out what the next phase of work will look like,” she said. “It’s a chance for me to wear a business hat for a while and help the company with strategy.”

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