About the Author

Lee Calcote

Lee Calcote is an innovative product and technology leader, passionate about empowering engineers and enabling organizations. As Founder of Layer5, he is at the forefront of the cloud native movement. Open source, advanced and emerging technologies have been a consistent focus through Calcote’s time at SolarWinds, Seagate, Cisco and Schneider Electric. An advisor, author, and speaker, Calcote is active in the community as a Docker Captain, Cloud Native Ambassador and GSoC, GSoD, and LFX Mentor.


MeshMap is the world's only visual and collaborative designer for Kubernetes and all cloud native infrastructure.

If you are in the Layer5 Community, no doubt, you've metNikhil Ladha. If not, I recommend that you join the community and get to know Nikhil. He's the Layer5 MeshMate of the Year and here's why: Nikhil consistently volunteers to uplift and support others in the community, freely sharing of his time and knowledge. His actions embody and espouse the pay-it-forward culture of Layer5.

It is beautiful how you always respond to messages in the newcomer's channel and try to sort out issues or questions asked. I can personally relate to your kind heart, on the particular times you got on a call with me as a newcomer then and helped me sort out my problems while being so patient and amazing. You really deserve this award Nikhil, and a big congratulations to you!

Prateek Tripathy

2020 was a noteworthy year in many ways. Nikhil's committment to the people and projects of the Layer5 community will forever be at the top of list of mentionables I and others will recall of last year. It was in 2019, though, that Nikhil's journey in the Layer5 community started and where he first began helping build our healthy, inclusive, and diverse community and our industry-leading, innovate open source projects. Nikhil's natural disposition to mentoring others and his stewardship on various projects make him a successful MeshMate.

What is a Layer5 MeshMate?


MeshMateis a distinction that Layer5 awards select members of the community who innately align with our culture of helping others, paying it forward, and a commitment to knowledge sharing. MeshMates are Layer5 mentors and ambassadors (not employees).

Congratulations on the MeshMate of the Year Award, Nikhil, a well-deserved honor for a distinguished gentleman. When I was having a look at the Layer5 community, your member experience blog post stood out and was one of the main reasons for me to join the community. Within the community, it is apparent that your guidance, support, and contributions are very much appreciated. Keep up the excellent work!

Michael Gfeller

A Layer5 MeshMate is individual who has consistently demonstrated their commitment to helping community members. The MeshMate program pairs experienced Layer5 community members with community newcomers to ensure a smooth onboarding experience. Helping community members takes all forms from ensuring the member has access to resources, is introduced to others, understands the vision and goals of projects, can build and contribute to projects, can use projects and have their feedback heard. MeshMates aid in identifying areas of projects and activities within the community to engage within, which working groups to join, and in help community members grow in their open source and cloud native knowledge.

There is a lot going in the Layer5 community. Projects and working groups move fast. By connecting one-on-one, MeshMates share tips on how to have the best community experience possible, but also build a relationship with the community member inevitably leaving a lasting mark as is evident from member comments about Nikhil.

It's not easy being a MeshMate

With thousands of members in the Layer5 community, many come and go. Many take and many give. While we hope that each and every individual that joins will find a fit in the community and/or on a project, this isn't always the case.

The dedication you have shown on the way to this achievement is impressive, Nikhil. People like you are the key to the great community at Layer5.


Engaging with and investing in community members can be taxing on mentors in terms of both their time and their emotional investment in seeing the newcomer plant roots, grow, and blossom.

One of the goals MeshMates have is that of enabling the newcomer's passion and finding their sweetspot in the community and on a project, so that the newcomer ultimately achieves their goals - goals that are often similar, but different for each person. To help them acheive their goals, each individual is engaged 1:1 by their Meshmate, supporting them in becoming a landstanding Layer5 community member and contributor. MeshMates understand that many mentees start out with the best of intentions, but that not all overcome their hurdles in finding an area of the community to call home or aspect of a project to own.

Congratulations on being our community maintainer superstar, Nikhil. You has done a great job on our new Layer5 site and your infinite patience on communicating with everyone sets you apart as an awesome community ambassador.

Aisuko Li

MeshMates are a massive force

In just a year's time, with thousands of people in the Layer5 community and 500+ contributors to our projects, it's clear that Layer5 MeshMates significantly uplift our collaborative efforts and are steady force in the community. In process of confirming Nikhil as the winner of the inaugural MeshMate of the Year award, we looked to the community for validation. Little did I realize that meant reaching out to nearly a hundred people whom Nikhil has mentored or supported in the Layer5 community. More than a few of them had something to say about their time with Nikhil:

Nikhil, your Meshery journey probably started in an unbuilt way. Each time you help others to start this awesome journey, you construct a better journey for all, a better way to help others. Thanks for everything!


Congratulations Nikhil. You deserve this title and more. You've been a continuous and steady force in the community and one of the sole reasons why any of our website codebases are still readable :) I admire you both, as an engineer and as a person for the sheer amount of patience you show towards any new member. Thank you for always being a dependable pillar in the community!


Nikhil has been a great guide for me throughout my journey from a contributor to a maintainer. He truly deserves the MeshMate of the Year award.


Nikhil has been a strong positive force driving the community in the right direction, most generous with the crowd. He not only does take initiative but also gets it done with perfection. His support has made the Layer5 community stronger and we are forever grateful for your contribution. Your commitment to excellence has inspired others.


Congratulations Mate. It's been a long time coming. Honestly, how do you manage your time. I think it's safe to say that if it weren't for your reviews, half of the codebase in the Meshery UI would be unreadable for new contributors, including my initial commits. Even though we haven't interacted much, you have been a great inspiration and I hope that you keep being that inspiration for others joining Layer5.


Hi Mate! Thank you for all your extra effort. Like the alpha wolf, you look after everyone in your pack. The MeshMate of the Year is just a small term, you are the star of the Layer5 community who shines and inspires us every single day. You deserve this recognition and I hope you experience both happiness and comfort. Thanks for always being willing to lend a hand and deliver high-quality work, your work ethic is enviable.


A big congratulations on being the MeshMate of the Year. You have been absolutely fantastic, I am so privileged to get in touch with you. I cannot count the number of times you have helped nervous and inexperienced newcomers like me get their first contributions to Layer5 and make it feel like one big family. Your name is a testimony for being 'complete' and you truly are a complete person. Thank you for everything you have done.


Nikhil is a really great maintainer and all the interactions with him have always been super great!


Nikhil Ladha is a very knowledgeable person considering all the various contributions that he made to Meshery. He was also very kind to review something that I had written and provided feedback and suggestions to improve it. He once exhibited to the team one of his creations for which he had won an award. He is certainly a very great asset to the team both as a contributor and as a MeshMate.


Congratulations Nikhil for getting the MeshMate of the Year Award. Thanks for your extremely valuable contributions and also thank you for your patient guidance to the newcomers :)


Great working with Nikhil, great guy, always up and doing. Congratulations on the MeshMate of the Year


Congratulations Nikhil! No one deserves this more than you. Thank you, for always helping me and helping me become a contributor to MeshMate myself :)

MeshMate of the Year 2020: Nikhil Ladha

In recognition a year's worth of paying it forward, and for the inaugural award, a new badge identifies our MeshMate of the Year award winner. Only one person carries this badge today. I can only guess as to who this ribbon may be awarded to for 2021. In the year and a half that Nikhil has been in the community, he has touched the lives of many people, including mine. Nikhil is my friend. He is the Layer5 MeshMate of the Year.

Meshmate of the year

The MeshMate badge is a point of pride for individuals participating in the program and looked upon with admiration and veneration by many within and external to the Layer5 community.

Wear your MeshMate of the Year badge proudly, Nikhil.

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