Karla Schönicke

Freelance Product Lead & Venture Scout

Main focus: Product, Tech, VC, DEI

Twitter handle: @karlawithakey

Websites/blogs: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karlaschoenicke/ , https://karlawithakey.com/ , https://womencto.eu/

Languages: German, English, Spanish

City: Berlin

State: Berlin

Country: Germany

Topics: product management, agile transformation, entrepreneurship, digitalization, agile software development, community building, user experience, digital strategy, unconscious bias, networking, diversity and inclusion, diversity in tech, bias in ai, product-led growth, dei

Services: Talk, Workshop management, Consulting, Coaching, Interview

  Willing to travel for an event.

  Willing to talk for nonprofit.


Karla currently works as a Freelance Product Lead for various companies and as Venture Scout at Ananda Impact Ventures.

Previously, she had been the Head of Product for Skyland Wealth, Interim Head of Product at Yook, Senior Product Manager at Sauce Labs and Product Owner at RatePAY, a Fintech company. Prior to starting her product management career, she held different roles in the Berlin startup scene i.e. at shyftplan, twago, truffls, i-potentials and epubli.

She's now an experienced software product management leader who loves building innovative and useful digital products that serve people's needs. 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. In November 2020, she won the XATHON female entrepreneurship hackathon with her pitch.

She's also founded the Women CTO Dinner community in 2019 to connect high-ranking women in tech leadership and make them visible to be an inspiration for other women (in tech): womencto.eu
Moreover, she's the co-initiator of the first female business angel academy in the DACH region: #FINacademy and the community manager of the Female Investors Network.

Examples of previous talks / appearances:

Ask Female Founders - with Karla Schönicke, Founder of Women CTO Dinner [April 2023]

The fourth event of the "Ask Female Founders" series by SIBB hosted Karla Schönicke, founder of Women CTO Dinner and Venture Scout at Ananda Impact VC. As a female founder and networker Karla gave insights about her network of women in tech leadership from across Europe as well as funding strategies for female led startups.

This talk is in: English
Building Data Products: Insights from Female Founders [March 2023]

This panel discussion with female founders and an investor was about sharing their insights on what it takes to convert data into a product and build a successful business upon it. Hosted by Applied Data Incubator and Venturing Women.

This talk is in: English
Talk during "Empowered Females - Women in Entrepreneurship" Event [November 2022]

The Frankfurt School of Finance & Management hosted the event "Empowered Females - Women in Entrepreneurship" and invited me to speak about the Female Investors Network (founded by Svenja Lassen) and the spark that led us to create the first female business angel academy in the DACH region called #FINacademy and also the #FINPitchNight, bringing together female founders and female investors. Of course, with all these initiatives we're actively pursuing the Mission #25to25 - reaching 25% women in the startup ecosystem until 2025!

This talk is in: English
Panel: Female Founders Finance Day [Nov 2022]

Panel organized by Startup Incubator Berlin (at Berlin School of Economics and Law) on the challenges for female founders, especially around fundraising and financing their companies.

This talk is in: German
Panel “Investing in Diversity Beyond Gender - why and how?" [October 2022]

In this panel moderated by Marla Rinne at the Unicorns in Tech Summit 2022 #uits22, Sarah Finegan, Oliver Beach and me discussed the current state of diversity in the VC industry, what is currently blocking progress and how to still make a difference.

This talk is in: English
Talk "How to Please Your (Impact) Investor" [October 2022]

In this talk during the Unicorns in Tech Summit 2022 #UITS22 in Berlin, I shared my observations from 5 months being a Venture Scout at Ananda Impact Ventures and identified 6 of the most common mistakes that founders make when interacting with investors plus how to avoid them.

This talk is in: English
Panel "How can we create a more level playing field for women entrepreneurs?" [September 2022]

What solutions are there to sustainably change the ecosystem? This panel discussion between Birte Gall (founder of Heritas), Leonie Moos (Head of Grace Accelerator) and myself (Venture Scout at Ananda Impact Ventures), was moderated by Carla Schell (Head of Platform at Auxxo Female Catalyst Fund).

This talk is in: English
Talk + Q&A "Technology, Bias and What it Means for Our Teams" [March 2022]

For the internal BASF International Women's Day Event 2022, I was invited to speak about the intersection of humans, bias and technology, what we should pay attention to and how we can create a level playing field for everyone.

This talk is in: English
Talk "Technology, Bias and What it Means for Our Teams" [July 2021]

During Munch Pride Week in July 2021, I held this online presentation with a Q&A session during an internal event at the largest semiconductor manufacturer in Germany.

This talk is in: English
Panel "Digital Career Day #women" by Tech in the City e.V. [November 2020]

In order to encourage more women to switch to the tech industry, Dr. Adiba Maignan and I had a panel discussion on which skills are good to have, how to make the transition and why it's exciting and fun to work in the fast-moving technology sector. The event was organized by Tech in the City e.V. and attendees joined from all over Germany.

This talk is in: German
Talk "Product discovery and delivery done better with Open Source" at Codemotion Madrid [November 2020]

This talk showed the advantages for product development teams of combining dual-track agile (simultaneous discovery and delivery) with the five open-source principles (transparency, collaboration, release early and often, meritocracy, community).
It was delivered on the first day of Codemotion Madrid 2020 on November 3rd together with Diego Molina, Senior Software Developer at the Open Source Program Office of Sauce Labs.

This talk is in: English
99-Minute Workshop: Test Automation for Product Managers [October 2020]

This online workshop was held during Test Automation Week organized by Ministry of Testing. Senior Software Engineer Eli Flores and Senior Product Manager Karla Schönicke introduced the audience to the reasons for testing, the advantages of test automation and the Test Pyramid. In the practice part they guided their audience through forking the Source Code on Github, setting up their first CI pipeline with GitHub Actions, making changes to the code, running the tests, and deploying successfully with Heroku.

This talk is in: English
Talk "Inclusive Product Management" at Sticks&Stones [June 2020]

Jeden Tag nutzen wir unzählige Webseiten und Apps – für unseren Job, in unserer Freizeit, mit den Menschen in unserem Leben. Speziell das Produktmanagement hat einen großen Einfluss darauf, wie inklusiv oder auch wie ausgrenzend aktuelle und zukünftige Softwareprodukte sein werden.
Diese Session stellt dir die 3 wichtigsten Einflussbereiche für inklusives Produktmanagement – Produktteam, Product Discovery und Product Delivery – vor und beleuchtet ihre Bedeutung für die tägliche Arbeit als Produktmanager*in bzw. Führungskraft im Produktbereich. Außerdem erhältst du Tipps, wie du schon heute in deinen Ideenfindungs- und Produktentwicklungsprozessen für u.a. mehr Einbeziehung diverser Perspektiven, Barrierefreiheit und Repräsentation von Vielfalt sorgen kannst.
Dieser Vortrag wurde am ALL ABOUT TECH & IT Tag (26. Juni 2020) im Rahmen der virtuellen Sticks&Stones LGBT+ Karrieremesse gehalten.

This talk is in: German
Talk "Debug Your Apps from Anywhere with Sauce Labs Virtual USB" at SauceCon [May 2020]

Together with my Sauce Labs colleague Wim Selles we held a talk about virtual USB, which is part of the product offering and allows our customers to debug their apps and inspect the mobile devices they are running on in the cloud - but from their local machine.
This tech talk was part of the Virtual SauceCon 2020, on May 12th for North America and on May 14th for EMEA and Rest of World.

This talk is in: English
Talk "Your tech skills are not enough" at European Women in Technology conference [November 2019]

The European Women in Technology conference 2019 was held in Amsterdam for two days with 4.000 attendees. This makes it the largest technology conference focusing on women in Europe.
I held my talk on why developers need much more than just coding skills to become great developers - in fact empathy and communication skills will make the difference in their career.
Key takeaways:
Understand the meaning of VUCA and how it impacts you as a developer
Learn how agile is an answer to the ever-increasing complexity at work
Why are self-organizing teams and product-focused companies better at dealing with change
Know the tasks that great developers need to do in a self-organizing team within a product-focused company
Get to know the first three steps from being a good developer to becoming a great developer

This talk is in: English
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.

WeAreDevelopers is one of the largest developer conferences in Europe which took place in Berlin with about 8.000 attendees.

This talk is in: English
Fishbowl discussion on "Women in Tech" [June 2019]

Together with Emma Tracey, Co-Founder of Honeypot.io, 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: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fixing-leaky-pipeline-how-keep-women-tech-karla-sch%C3%B6nicke/

This talk is in: English
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. https://www.sticks-and-stones.com/vortragsprogramm/
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.

This talk is in: German
Panel "Break into Tech with a non-tech degree" [May 2019]

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.

This talk is in: English
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: https://www.bankathon.net/flashback/

This talk is in: English
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.

This talk is in: German
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.

This talk is in: English
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: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6339186634474475520

This talk is in: English
#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.

This talk is in: English
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.

This talk is in: German
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.

This talk is in: English
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 http://railsgirls.com/brno20130621.html). 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.

This talk is in: English