Sometimes life sits you across the table from a bigwig, which is one thing when the table is only set for two but quite another thing when there are 10. The first case is an interview, either of you or by you, but in any case the conventions are defined enough to manage.
Sitting across from a bigwig when there’s a whole table full of people feels different. Now the peers to your right and left, to the bigwig’s right and left, may judge you as an opportunist for making too much of your fortuitous seating. So don’t hog the bigwig. But if nobody else engages her, go to work. After all, there’s another seat right next to the bigwig, and nobody took it.
Ask all your questions and glean all you can. If you’re really lucky, the bigwig may even throw some criticism your way. Eat it all up. You won’t be at this table again. And when the thought creeps in that your table-mates are silently condemning you a for a greedy conversationalist (which is obviously more about you than them–they don’t and you’re not), just practice in your mind how you will retell the story the bigwig just shared about being in a Michael Lewis book.