The UNITY/EXPO started in 2002 as the Unity Luncheon when PWR invited the community to join them to commemorate the holidays and celebrate the "Power of Unity". At that time, the nation was still in shock over the events of 9-11 and PWR felt that is was important to bring the community together. Joan Sparkman was the guest speaker at this first event, and led the attendees through the process of understanding and developing an appreciation of the Power of Unity. The following year, 2003, was the first year that the Unity Award was given by PWR. The award was given to Joan Sparkman in recognition of her devotion and unselfish work to better our communities. The Board of PWR felt so strongly about the excellent role model that Joan Sparkman provides for women who wish to improve themselves and their community that a decision was made to name the award after its first recipient, resulting in the Joan Sparkman Unity Award.