Shayla Cowan (Courtesy photo)

Shayla Cowan is the former chief of staff for Will Packer Media and some of her screen credits include “Beast,” “The Photograph,” “What Men Want,” “Girls Trip,” and the 94th Annual Academy Awards.

She’s also the current president and talent manager at Collective Edge Management, a boutique management firm based in Los Angeles, which she founded with Will Packer.

Cowan says she started out in entertainment as a child actress performing in commercials. But she says she quit because none of the other kids her age were doing it. She also says her reintroduction to showbiz was a bit unorthodox.

Cowan remembers being introduced to film producer Will Packer through a mutual friend when Packer was looking for a new assistant while working on the film “Stomp the Yard: Homecoming.”

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“He [Will Packer] gave me a phone number to call. I called the number and set up the interview,” said Cowan.

“It ended up being a two-hour conversation. We hit it off, and before I could stick the key in the ignition, I got the text saying, ‘You got the job if you want it.’”

Cowan says during the first days on the set of “Homecoming,” she concentrated on doing a great job at her assistant duties, paying attention to everything that was happening on set.

“I was just doing me. I wasn’t auditioning to do something bigger. It was just me doing what I knew, and he was impressed by that. So, three weeks before we wrapped the movie, he asked me to come on as his executive assistant,” said Cowan.

Cowan’s first movie as Packer’s executive assistant was the romantic comedy “Think Like A Man,” which was shot in Los Angeles at the Sony lot. She remembers it being a magical experience where she learned a lot.

Cowans said one of the greatest lessons she learned while working on “Think Like a Man” was “be seen and not heard… you can be seen in the room, but that doesn’t mean you have to give your opinion.”

“I also learned how to make a movie, and that was not on my agenda,” she said. “I also learned talent, what moves the needle [when it comes to talent] and what doesn’t. I learned the importance of marketing, which became something that I loved throughout the journey of my career.”

However, Cowan says the most important lesson she learned was the value of building relationships in the entertainment business. She says those relationships can transcend years and can assist in achieving mutually beneficial goals.

Cowan says building relationships creates an ecosystem with industry colleagues who may have useful information to share about current trends in entertainment.

After several years of acting as Packer’s assistant, she says she was given the opportunity to produce her first film with Packer, “Almost Christmas.”

“One thing about me, I was always on set, and sometimes Will [Packer] would have to come in and out. He’s a father, he’s a husband, and he was building the business,” said Cowan. “I started doing associate producer type things, and any task he would give me, I would figure it out.”

She says Packer soon approached her with the opportunity from his “Almost Christmas” studio partner, Universal, to make her a producer on the film.

“And ‘Almost Christmas’ was the first credited movie that I worked on as an associate producer,” said Cowan. “Then it continued. It was every movie after that [I was an associate producer].”

Cowan says she is not one who needs a title but was told by Packer that she needed one because she had outgrown being his assistant. Cowan says this prompted her to empty a candy bowl, put a bunch of titles in it, and she chose the first one she pulled out, “chief of staff.”

“I texted him [Packer] and said, ‘What do you think about this title?’ Cowan says she felt comfortable with the title because it was clear what the title meant, but it still gave her the flexibility to maintain many different roles within Will Packer Media.

“He [Packer] said, ‘Let me sleep on it,’ and then he came back and said, ‘Yes, and we’re going to do an announcement.’ I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t need all that attention’ because we work very well together, because I know he’s the star, and I like playing background,” said Cowan.

Cowans says she was humbled by the support and accolades she received from everyone at Packer Media. “I’m so happy he [Packer] made me do it [the announcement] because you don’t know how many people are watching your journey from afar,” said Cowan.

Cowan went on to do many more film projects with Packer, including the aforementioned “Girl’s Trip,” “Beast,” and “What Men Want.” She also produced the movies “Breaking In,” “Little,” “Night School,” and many more.

“I give so much credit to Will [Packer] because he saw something in me at the time that I didn’t even know existed, and he was shaping me and molding me to become a producer, to become an executive… and I appreciate him because he set me up to win,” said Cowan.

Cowan says she was happy in her role as chief of staff for many years, but then began to crave a new challenge. And over those years, she remembers several people telling her how she would make a great manager.

But destiny had different plans for Cowan. She says after receiving several calls in one week that put her into a managerial role, and because she says she “listens to the universe,” she spoke with Packer about her desire to explore being a talent manager.

“He said, ‘Well, you’re not going anywhere, so we’ve got to figure this out together,’” said Cowan. “I worked really hard to build out the vision, and he agreed, and we got it to a great place, and I stepped down from my chief of staff role last June and became super focused on building Collective Edge [Management].”

The company — which represents actors, writers, directors, and personalities – was officially announced in November of last year. Cowan says she is excited to occupy her new role as president and talent manager.

“I think there are some really talented people out there who have been poorly managed,” said Cowan. “For me it’s not about having a crazy [talent] roster. It’s about having the right talent that you can really mold and build, and [to] get them over that hump with my relationships and resources.”

For more information on Collective Edge Management, visit