Baroness Whitaker began her career as a commissioning editor at a publishing house before becoming a civil servant. She was a consultant for the Commission for Racial Equality and was a member of several committees, including intergovernmental, human rights and European Union organisations. She is passionate about race relations, international development, humanism, architecture and design. In recent years, she has been appointed as Vice-President of the British Humanist Association, a member of the Advisory Board for the British Institute of Human Rights, and President of the South Downs Society. She has also become an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architecture.