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Karla Schönicke

Karla Schönicke
Product Management
My bio:

Karla currently works as a Product Owner at RatePAY, where she is responsible for all customer-facing platforms. Prior to working in a fintech company she had different roles in the Berlin startup scene i.e. at shyftplan, twago, truffls and epubli. With a background in International Business Administration and her self-taught tech skills she steadily moved into digital product management to build innovative, useful software. Karla is a firm believer in agile methods, user centric design and diverse teams. She greatly enjoys sharing knowledge and interacting with audiences, because there is always an opportunity to grow. She was amongst the TOP10 finalists of RAHM 2018, the global LGBT leadership contest, and named as one of the 50 Women in Product in Europe List 2018.

Examples of previous talks / appearances:

Talk "Your tech skills are not enough" at WeAreDevelopers conference [June 2019]

As a developer it might seem natural to assume that your main task is developing software. Well, it's not. Since our world has become increasingly more complex and fast-paced in the past years, tech companies had to reorganize themselves leading to the rise of product-focused companies with self-organizing teams.
In order to succeed in this changed environment, as a developer you need to expand your skill set to several other areas. This talk will provide a detailed account of these areas and how to take your first steps from being a good developer to becoming a great developer.

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Fishbowl discussion on "Women in Tech" [June 2019]

Together with Emma Tracey, Co-Founder of, and Sandrine Vinay, Employee Experience Manager at METRONOM, we invited the audience to discuss with us the experience we make as women in tech and what each one of us could start doing today, so the situation improves. The fishbowl was moderated by Hilary Klassen, Founder & CEO of Career Ari.
The evening inspired me to write the following article:

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Panel "How to Hack Gender Inequality" [May 2019]

This panel was organized by Isabelle Hoyer from PANDA (the women leadership contest and network) and took place at the Sticks & Stones career fair for LGBTQI people in May 2019.
Together with Uta Menges, Claudia Fischer and Katerina Holubova we discussed the current obstacles and practical tips how everyone can start promoting gender equality today.

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Panel "Break into Tech with a non-tech degree"

This panel organized in May 2019 by the Women Techmakers Berlin chapter centered around practical tips how to move into the technology industry with a different academic background. I was one of the panelists, focusing on my career change from business to product management. Consequently, I shared my experience on how to build an online profile, market yourself in the tech world, adopt tech speak, which skills can be transferred into the new role (answer: anything!) and why persistence is the number one thing to become successful.

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Final Pitch at Bankathon (video)

My team from RatePAY GmbH (Eduardo Iriarte, Marc Trösken, Tobias Franke and me) participated in Bankathon #6 and pitched our app idea #swopp in front of the Banking Summit 2018 in Frankfurt (Germany).
Among the 85 participants in 24 teams, the jury selected us as winner in the category "Online Banking" and we were also awarded the prize for "Overall Winner 2018".
More details here:

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Karriere-Meetup "Agiles Arbeiten" auf der #herCAREER

„…denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun.“ - Warum agil nicht gleich Chaos und Scrum kein Allheilmittel ist

Zum Thema „agil(e)“ gibt es viele Meinungen und wenig fundiertes Wissen. Ausgehend von den Grundvoraussetzungen, ohne die agiles Arbeiten zum Scheitern verurteilt ist, gibt dieser Talk einen Überblick zu agilen Methoden und beantwortet die wichtigsten Fragen rund um eine effektive Zusammenarbeit in agilen Teams (egal ob sie an Software arbeiten oder nicht). Außerdem wird gezeigt, dass Agilität schon jetzt ein wichtiger Baustein für die Digitale Transformation und New Work ist.

Die #herCAREER ist eine Karrieremesse für Frauen und findet einmal jährlich in München statt. Das Karriere-Meetup ist ein perfektes Format für 60 Minuten wertvollen Austausch zwischen einer Expertin und Menschen mit Fragen zu einem Fokusthema.

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Life (or Death) of a Product Owner - Working in Agile Teams

This session took place on the second day of the 4-day TYPO3 Developer Days 2018 in Düsseldorf/Germany.
“Product Owner” is a Scrum role, but where does it differ from Project Manager and Product Manager roles? And agile development is nice, but how can Product Owners effectively interact with their self-organizing, cross-functional development teams? Or simply put: Which behaviors in an agile team are helpful and which deadly?
This talk will answer the above questions from a theoretical and practical point of view using my experience as a Product Owner at RatePAY to provide examples.

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Pitfalls in Design Thinking - and what to do instead

This talk was given in December 2017 at the 35th Gettogether of Unicorns in Tech at the office of King (game company) with over 100 attendees. As one of two speakers of the evening, I presented some common misconceptions about Design Thinking, how it is often applied in a wrong way and and what everyone can do to fix that.

LinkedIn post:

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#fuckitall - or what the last 12 months taught me

Annual event for mentors and mentees of the "One World Social Capital Programme", an initiative to promote female professionals to break the glass ceiling. The talk was about starting into my career including a period without a job and my learnings from this time.

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Moderation Podiumsgespräch - Jugendtag NAK Berlin-Brandenburg 2017

Gemeinsam mit einem Co-Moderator führten wir auf dem #BBJT2017 ein 90-minütiges Podiumsgespräch mit drei wichtigen Kirchenvertretern. Zu den Themen "Christsein im Alltag" und "Die Kirche in der Gesellschaft" wurden Fragen diskutiert, die vorab von Jugendlichen eingereicht worden waren.

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What Digital Natives Want From Tech Companies

This talk was held at #unit festival 2015 about how digital natives prefer to work, what their understanding of work is and how tech companies should adapt to that in order to be an attractive employer to the generation Y.

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Rails Girls Brno 2013 - Opening talk

Together with TechSquat and RedHat, we organized the first Rails Girls Workshop in the Czech Republic in Brno (see In the opening talk I presented the mission of Rails Girls, my motivation to come to Brno as a coach, why coding is awesome and what mindset you need to succeed with learning how to code. Basically it was a motivational pitch to get the participants even more excited about starting a day full of coding.

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