Baroness Hayman read Law at Newnham College, Cambridge, and was the President of the Cambridge Union Society. After graduation, she worked for Shelter and the Social Services Department in the London Borough of Camden. In 1997, she was a minister in the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Department of Health, before being appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food until 2001.Following this, Baroness Hayman became a chairman of Cancer Research UK. In 2006, she won the election to become the first Lord Speaker, and held this post until 2011. She represented the House of Lords on visits from United States President Barack Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.